creative industries fund nl
Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design

Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design

Closing dates:

1 September 2021

Budget 2021: € 300.000

in collaboration with the Performing Arts Fund NL and Sena

With Upstream, the Creative Industries Fund NL, together with the Performing Arts Fund NL and Sena, supports innovative artistic formats and collaborations within Dutch pop/urban music. The Upstream: Music x Design grant programme is executed by the Creative Industries Fund NL and is intended for projects in which artists work together with designers and makers on new applications of design, visual culture and technology within music. With the help of Upstream, the Funds and Sena aim to broaden and strengthen the music industry in the Netherlands, to come across more strongly internationally and to stimulate crossovers into other disciplines. Talent development, professionalization, innovation and experimentation are central. The annual budget is made available in two application rounds of each € 150.000.
The Upstream: Music x Design grant programme is aimed at supporting collaborative projects. Dutch partnerships formed by at least one pop artist and one designer or maker from the creative industry may submit an application for this grant programme. It is important that together they make a proven contribution to their disciplines, nationally or internationally. The applicant must be registered in the Chamber of Commerce trade register.

In addition to Upstream: Music x Design, the Performing Arts Fund offers artists in pop-/ urban music the opportunity to invest in the development of their career with the Grant Programme Upstream: Music. For more information, visit (Dutch only).
Under the Upstream: Music x Design grant programme, applications for subsidy can be submitted for projects aimed at innovative (artistic) applications of design, image or technology within pop music. The programme is intended for projects that will also be shared with a wide audience. Projects can result in both physical and virtual presentations, products, installations or interventions.

development and realization application
For the development and realization of projects, the maximum contribution per project is € 50,000. The contribution is intended to provide fair compensation for the artistic/content-related parties involved and for costs, including material costs, relating to development, prototyping and performance.

starting grants
Within Upstream: Music x Design a grant can also be requested for the start-up phase of projects. The start-up phase is a maximum of six months and is intended for carrying out preliminary research, preparing for the project and fleshing out the collaboration. Starting grants amount to a maximum of € 5,000 and must result in a detailed plan for realization.

Applications must consist of a detailed project plan, time planning, budget, communication plan, CVs of parties involved, a (visual) portfolio and a collaboration agreement between the participating parties. Applications must be submitted by the party involved in the creative industry.

The Board may choose to provide part of the contribution as a loan, based on the advice given by the advisory committee. This form of support can be applied if it is likely that the project, or part of the project, will lead to a revenue model. In this situation, a part of the contribution, determined by the Board, must be reimbursed within three years at the most. When a project does not generate the expected income, the loan is partially or entirely written off.

for which projects can a grant application not be submitted?
A grant application may not be submitted in the case of projects in which none of the collaborating parties is primarily active within the creative industry, i.e. the disciplines of architecture, design and digital culture. In addition, no applications may be submitted for projects that do not rise above regular practice, such as conventional video clips or stage concepts, merchandising and artist branding.
In evaluating the application, attention is paid to the consistency of the project's motivation in terms of objective, set-up, expertise involved and content. Projects are also weighted according to the following criteria:

• Impact: the project investigates a sub-aspect of the pop sector in an innovative way and brings together parties with a proven track record from at least two disciplines.
• Artistic quality: the artistic quality of the project is high and it is technically feasible.
• Distinctive value: the project adds value to the existing range within pop/urban music.
• Dutch interest: the project is a collaboration between two or more partners who have a clear link with the Dutch creative industry. The applicant is registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. If the immediacy is well-founded, collaboration with a foreign party is permitted.
• Public reach: there is a clear vision on the project's public reach and the project is internationally scalable.
• The project's premiere takes place in the Netherlands.
• The application is accompanied by a detailed Intellectual Property Agreement between the participating parties that provides insight into the Intellectual Property relationships and the expected economic gain. The agreement on property rights, copyright and neighbouring rights must be signed by the parties involved when the request for realization is submitted.
• The Intellectual Property Agreement guarantees the possibility of unimpeded use of the end product by the artist concerned after realization of the end product.
• There is reasonable co-financing consisting of a personal contribution or a contribution from third parties.

Only the first four criteria mentioned above apply to starting-grant applications: impact, artistic quality, distinctive value and Dutch interest.
Refer to the Grant Application Guide (PDF) when submitting your application. The guide provides guidance with regard to the grant application and the drawing up of the project plan, budget and communication plan.

General Subsidy Regulations and the Architecture Grant Programme
The Creative Industries Fund NL has Subsidy Regulations that formally apply to the application, evaluation, awarding and final approval of a grant. Supplementary grant programmes have been drawn up with specific objectives and conditions. Read the Regulations (PDF) as well as the Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design (PDF) attentively before submitting an application.

online application environment
The application should be submitted using the online application environment. You have to sign up and create an account to do so. Please note: do so in a timely manner, it can take up to 1 working day for the Fund to validate the account and this is only done during the working week.

You can submit the online application form until 23:59 on the day of the closing date. Advice is to submit your application earlier because of the busy server.

Specific questions about the procedure, budget and/or project plan can be sent via email to one of the grants officers. First check if you can find the answer to your question in the Frequently Asked Questions.
After your application has been submitted, the Fund office checks whether you comply with the formal requirements as listed in the Subsidy Regulations (PDF) and the Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design (PDF).

An advisory committee will evaluate your request on the basis of the Subsidy Regulations and the Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design. In particular, it will assess the extent to which your application is aligned with the criteria listed in Articles 16 - 21 of the Subsidy Regulations (PDF) and the grant programme's specific objectives (Article 1 of the Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design (PDF)). If the positive decisions in a round of applications exceed the available budget, prioritization can be applied. The committee will issue a recommendation to the Creative Industries Fund NL's Board. View the composition of the advisory committee for the Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design here.

It happens quite regularly that the available budget of a subsidy round is insufficient. The total amount of the grants requested by all the positively evaluated applications exceeds the round's budget, or subsidy ceiling. Prioritization must then take place. This is carried out in accordance with Articles 9 and 10 of the Subsidy Regulations. Article 10, clause 2 (a) applies in this case:

'The available amount will be awarded to the applicants whose application is valued most highly, where the requested contribution can be awarded to the most highly valued applications, provided the total does not exceed the subsidy ceiling, and subsequently only the amount remaining up to the subsidy ceiling will be awarded to the applicant to whom awarding a grant would lead to the subsidy ceiling being exceeded.'

The board will take the recommendation into account in their decision to award the subsidy or not. You will be informed of the decision 10 weeks after the closing date for the grant programme at the latest. You will receive a message with the result by email.

If you do not agree with the Creative Industries Fund NL's decision you can submit a reviewed application or letter of appeal. More information is provided here.

If you receive a grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL you will enter into obligations. Please read important information on your accountability here. Two weeks before your project ends you will receive a request by e-mail to submit your accountability in the online application environment.
For further information please contact:
Ibrahim Alaoui Chrifi

You can also call +31 (0)10 4361600.

grants issued Upstream: Music x Design


Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design Publication

We... are Doomed (Pragmatic Propaganda)

The Irrational Library, 2020

'We...are Doomed' is a crossover project that connects graphic design, music and spoken word. The presentation of the third album by The Irrational Library 'We...are doomed (Pragmatic Propaganda)' will be accompanied by a new book with socio-political illustrations by illustrator TRIK. Through this collaboration, both parties want to give a boost to their creativity and skip the generic promotional campaign. The aim is also to do more justice to the album's underlying message on the theme of 'pragmatic propaganda' by means of TRIK's graphic contribution. Joshua Baumgarten's lyrics also play an important role. In live performances, TRIK's illustrations are used in moving form. Besides the ambition to use various online and offline media for the promotion, there will be a live tour that takes in event locations, art galleries and other venues.

Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design AV production

Eefje de Visser x Nick Verstand

Studio Nick Verstand, 2020

Singer-songwriter Eefje de Visser and artist Nick Verstand are working together on a project to develop a live show that combines music, choreography and scenography. The theme for Eefje de Visser's 2021 club tour is bringing together contrasts, and for this purpose separate elements are integrated into one harmonious system. The scenography consists of a large reflector suspended from three computer-controlled hoists, and a series of lights that follow it exactly to reflect the light to targeted spots. The intensity of the light is controlled in real time by the amplitude of Eefje de Visser's voice. This creates a lively image where light and sound merge together. For this project, several innovative techniques are being researched and developed, such as the light reflection of different materials and structures. In addition, software is being developed to control dynamic hoisting and lighting animations in three dimensions in real time. This software controls the hoist positions in such a way that the reflector is precisely positioned in the space. For the implementation of this project, there is collaboration with Sandra Hillaerts (choreography), Daniel de Bruin (hardware development) and Poul Holleman (software development), among others. The performance will be presented during an international tour, which kicks off in February 2021 in Carré Amsterdam.

Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design Research


Frouke ten Velden, 2020


Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design Research

Human 2.0

Stichting M31 Foundation, 2020

'Human 2.0' is an interdisciplinary music project set up in 2013 by multidisciplinary artist Robin Coops and sound designer/guitarist Eric Magnee. In this project, the two wanted to explore the boundaries and meaning of a pop concert. In the current phase, 'The Virtual Pop Concerto', an investigation will be set up into the physical presence of the performer and the audience. The relationship between the physical and the virtual world is central to this and the research will focus entirely on live streaming of pop concerts. Human 2.0 aims to develop a virtual stage where it is possible to experiment with techniques such as motion capture and live-generated visuals. All insights from the research and the test presentations will be published online to share the knowledge. The project is a collaboration between Human 2.0, Jilt van Moors and Aron Fels. Supporting partners are VR Academy and Effenaar pop podium.

Grant Programme Upstream: Music x Design Research

Heritage Studio

Get Me, 2020

The focus of the new Heritage Studio platform is on Dutch-based makers and artists with roots in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). In their search for their own artistic identity, makers with this background are often still reduced within the Western context to their cultural background and associations, according to initiator (A)WAKE. But it is precisely in the nightlife scene, where these artists, regardless of their background, are engaged in, for example, progressive techno that these occidental obstacles disappear. Reason enough to investigate this further. For this application, visual artist Salim Bayri and DJ/artist Fatima Ferrari are working together to create a live performance that will be presented in the spring of 2021 during the New Radicalism festival in MONO, Rotterdam.

the fund



Today the Creative Industries Fund NL publishes its public annual report 2020 in digital form. The year 2020 had only just begun when the COVID-19 crisis broke out, resulting in uncertainties for many... more >
On 1 February, the Creative Industries Fund NL will open a new grant scheme, focussing on small-scale experiment-driven research within the creative industry: the Experiment Grant Scheme.We spoke to G... more >